Diary of a summer scholar: KDee Ma'ia'i
22 July 2019
KDee completed a Summer Research Scholarship with Associate Professor Jennifer Frost exploring the enfranchisement of 18 to 21 year olds in the United States.
"My Summer Research Scholarship project aimed at uncovering the factors that led to the enfranchisement of 18 to 21 year olds in the United States of America through the 26th Amendment to the US Constitution.
"It was clear from the beginning that Jennifer's focus was to highlight the interplay between top/down and bottom/up approaches in order to write a history that highlights the social impetus behind political change.
"Heading into my Summer Research Scholarship I felt both privileged and overwhelmed. I had concerns that the topic was out of my scope of expertise and I was concerned that I did not know enough about research methodologies to do justice to the great opportunity.
"Over the ten weeks, however, I gained confidence in my academic and research capabilities. I have learnt invaluable lessons that will guide me into my honours dissertation. I have become familiarised with the process of archival research, specified note taking, literature reviews and the work required to publish a body of work. This has solidified my desire to remain engaged in academia on a research basis."
I have thoroughly enjoyed my Summer Research Scholarship. I was privileged to have an attentive supervisor and an engaging research topic — a combination that ensured that we had a successful ten weeks.
"I found that social movements resisted disenfranchisement and employed multiple mechanisms in order to prove their case. However, they were also embraced by legislators and businesses that also saw value in lowering the voting age.
"While the 1960s may have provided the climate and opportunity to fundamentally alter the political climate of America, it could not have occurred without negotiation between grassroots campaigns and entrenched legal channels.
"I enjoyed and appreciated the trust that Jennifer showed in me. The flexibility that was awarded to me enabled me to make contributions towards a project that initially seemed outside of my scope. The flexibility also taught me lessons in time management and goal setting which has streamlined my outlook towards self-directed learning.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed my Summer Research Scholarship. I was privileged to have an attentive supervisor and an engaging research topic — a combination that ensured that we had a successful ten weeks.
"Without this project, it is unlikely that I would have had such concrete exposure to academic research methodologies. I have gained invaluable skills in primary and secondary research which will undoubtedly assist in my postgraduate studies."
Julianne Evans | Media adviser
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